2019 - "BELGRADE-HELSINKI, 90 Years of Diplomatic Relations"

Venue and date of opening:Archives of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, October 1, 2019

Exhibition opened by: Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia

Organisation: Archives of Yugoslavia

Author of the exhibition: Jelena Đurišić

Information provided in: catalogue PDF, poster

Word of author

The Archives of Yugoslavia in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and the Embassy of the Republic of Finland in Belgrade prepared the exhibition. The exhibition presents review of diplomatic, political, commercial, cultural educational and scientific relations of two countries that during that period showed great mutual understanding and support in important international matters. The exhibition was designed to have five parts with 177 exhibits.

Within part, Relations Between Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes/Yugoslavia and the Republic of Finland, material dealing with recognition  of the Republic of Finland, by the Kingdom of Serb Croats and Slovenes, first of all establishment of consular office and later on diplomatic relations, political and economic, trade and cultural cooperation of two countries were presented. Diplomatic relation between countries was established on August 7, 1929 when Hjalmar Procopé Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland informed by letter Yugoslav Minister of Foreign Affairs Vojislav Marinković that Finish Government agreed that Stanoje Pelivanović, Yugoslav Chargé d’affairs in Riga was accredited  Chargé d’affairs at Finish government.

Material witnessing the work of the Yugoslav Consul Professor Ivan Sajković is highly represented. One professor from the University of Helsinki in the letter addressed to the Assistant Minister of the Foreign Affairs Ivo Andric wrote: …Everything that is here known about Yugoslavia, of the country itself, people and culture is owing to him. At the same time he is a keen interpreter of our culture in front of the Yugoslav public. Being excellent interpreter of Finish national epos “Kalevala” he gained great gratitude from the Finish people”.

Part Diplomatic Relations after 1945 is divided into two smaller parts: Diplomatic Representatives of Yugoslavia/Serbia in Finland and Diplomatic Representatives of Finland in Yugoslavia/Serbia. It has documents of restored diplomatic relations between Republic of Finland and new state of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Material present diplomatic representatives of two states: decrees of appointment and recall,  letters of credence and recall with the signatures of the President of Yugoslavia respectively Finland, photos of diplomatic representatives and diplomatic missions as well as information regarding lifting up the rank of the mission in Belgrade respectfully Helsinki to the level of embassy.

Part, Summit Meetings is divided in five smaller parts and it consists of the documents regarding interstate meetings and visits at the highest level. The visits of the President of Finland Urho Kekkonen to Yugoslavia 1963,1967 and 1975 as well as visits of the President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito to Finland 1964 ,contributing to more solid mutual relations, bringing closer attitudes regarding some important matters of bilateral cooperation as well as international relations, are highlighted. Visit of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Kalevi Sorsa in 1973 and Mauno Koivisto  in 1980 to Belgrade and return visit of Veselin Djuranović in 1978 contributed to further strengthening of relations between two countries.

The part Cultural and Educational Relations contain material present modest but positive results attained in the field of cultural relations and scientific cooperation. That was reflected in mutual interpreting activity, periodically organized art exhibitions, guest performances of the artists and art ensembles, exchange of scholarships, cooperation between state televisions, screening of movies and etc. When opening the exhibition “Modern Finish Design” in the Museum of Revolution of Yugoslav Nations and Ethnic Minorities, 1975, Finish Minister of Education pointed out the importance of mutual knowledge at the cultural level while the President of the Yugoslav Committee for Science and Culture sad: “Works of art and culture being the most noble creations of human mind, always present the most solid bridge for rapprochement between peoples.”

The Part Economy Relations contain material witnessing the trade economy and touristic cooperation of two countries in the form of agreement, additional protocols, reports and photos.

Exhibition is staged on the basis of the archival material  of the fonds of the Archives of Yugoslavia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (AJ-66) Diplomatic Mission of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in Sweden – Stockholm (AJ-382), Central Press Bureau of the Presidency of the Council of the Ministers of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (AJ-38), Cabinet of the President of the Republic (AJ-837), Federal Executive Council (AJ-130)Federal Commission for Cultural Relations Abroad (AJ-559), Federal Committee for Science and Culture (AJ-320), Presidency of SFRY (AJ-803), President of Serbia and Montenegro – Cabinet (AJ-806) and Tanjug photo material (AJ-112); Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia – Political Archives; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia – Collection International Treaties ; Museum of Yugoslavia, Embassy of the Republic of Finland in Belgrade and the Archives of Urho Kekkonen.

Opening of the exhibition

Round anniversary of diplomatic relations with Finland was marked with the exhibition of documents Belgrade – Helsinki 90 Years of Diplomatic Relations opened on October 1, 20019 in the Archives of Yugoslavia. Director of the Archives of Yugoslavia, Dr. Milan Terzić addressed the audience as a host saying that the archives of Yugoslavia together with the Embassy of the Republic of Finland in Belgrade prepared this exhibition using documentation of both the archives of Yugoslavia and the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia as well as the archives of Urho Kekkonen from Helsinki. Mentioning that at the beginning of the research work on this topic, researchers didn’t have complete insight in the amount of accessible documents, but during the research work, number of pages that appeared indicated that the beginning of relations was far in the past, and that abundant depicted documentation indicates that it could be a platform for new and more fruitful relations between two countries.


At the beginning of his speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Finland Pekka Haavisto pointed out that the relations between the two countries have always been characterized by mutual respect, expressing his content that the present relations between Serbia and Finland are excellent. He mentioned that at present moment the most significant project our countries are working on is the EU enlargement process which is an important instrument for promoting stability, peace and prosperity in Europe. Minister Haavisto also stressed that Finland supports Serbia’s accession to the EU and emphasized that this process depends mostly on Serbia.


Ivica Dačić Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia expressed his satisfaction about opening  of the exhibition marking  90 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Finland together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto  , mentioning that this relations  established in 1929 went through hard times and numerous challenges but that they are characterized by permanent readiness for mutual work on the things that connect two countries and that this exhibition with exhibited documents and photographs in the most picturesque way gives evidence to that. He thanked Archives from both countries for their effort to find, preserve and present exhibited objects that suggest that there are plenty of reasons to be proud, but present as well great responsibility to continue to develop and advance our entire relations.

Mr. Dačić highlighted the desire of the Republic of Serbia is to proceed with development of cooperation in all fields of mutual interest, from economy to tourism that would contribute to know one another better as well as to get to know more about one another and learn from one another.  The Minister thanked for the support and help that Finland provides for Serbia in the process of European Integration and mentioned that Serbia is thankful for the opportunity to have close cooperation with Finland during its Presidency of the Council of EU in the last six months of this year. Concluding that it is our great responsibility to protect and further develop friendly relations with Finland, convinced that bilateral relations will continue to develop in the future in mutual interest, the Minister  wished that new pages of the mutual future history are marked by big successes, results and frank friendship.


By opening the exhibition, the Minister invited visitors to look at the exhibition and in that way get some impression about the history of relations of the two countries through official documents marking the most important events. A special focus of the exhibition is on the friendship of two presidents, Josip Broz Tito and Urho Kekkonen. President Kekkonen has visited Yugoslavia three times while Tito was two times in Finland – once in official visit and the other time at the Conference of OESC.


This exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue in Serbian and English whose author is Jelena Đurišić.

This exhibition will be opened to visitors every working day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until the end of October.

Date of last change: 24. 03. 2022

2024. The Archives of Yugoslavia

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